Corsets can usually be interchangeable between garments due to them being underneath for most projects. Unlike most of the ones I have done. Like Jill Valentine from Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Selene from Underworld, as well as Red/Ruby and the Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time. The majority of the corsets I have done are all on the outside. The only two that were truly base corsets was the first corset I have ever made. Which let’s just say there was room for improvement. Lots of room. And the third corset I made, which fits, but not as well as it should anymore. I have lost weight over the two years between these corsets. And I wanted this to have a more accurate silhouette to the century the bustle is from.
With the corset I combined two patterns together. A modern one based on that era and an old pattern from that era from Norah Waugh. It was harder than I thought to draft the pattern out of Norah Waugh. I have never scaled up a pattern in my life. I just create them myself with drafting or flat drafting. When this is done I cut a mock-up out of muslin and tried it on. It was way too large. The modern pattern I used to get the shape from was not the measurements it suggested. I cut a size 16 even though the pattern says I am an 18. But I still could have removed a panel from either side it was that large. I tried the whole pinching and pinning to make it smaller, but halfway through I gave up and started from scratch.
Here is what my materials looked like, minus the lace. I forgot to add the lace before the binding.
I cut out the pattern out of three fabrics, the decorative, strength, and the lining.
I sewed the pieces together. I didn’t make a mock-up of this, I just hoped it would fit. I figured if it was too big I could take it in and too small I would start over. But it is the same process for making a mockup and I wanted to cut out one step of the process. I added metal eyelets for time convenience as I had four weeks to finish this whole project from start to finish.
The busk was added as well. Remember to put the loops on the right side and the hooks on the left. When you are wearing it, not when it is on the ground.
As you can see from the back it looks too small, but when I put it on me the gap in the back is only an inch apart. But there is an issue with this. The front bust part flattens my bust and is too big at the top as it flares out. That was an easy fix. I consulted a friend who suggested I drape the breast piece against myself instead of flat drafting it like I did originally. I did that and it was a success.
Here is an example, the right piece was the before and the left piece is the after. The left is a much better fit. I trimmed down the edges later.
And the next step would be to add boning channels as well as cut and tip the bones. Which is a fairly easy step, I did cut myself a little with a bone. I wasn’t being careful. But it is only the third time and I have made about eleven corsets at this point. So not bad. Just be careful.
I decided to go with a pinkish coral for the bias binding. The smart way to make a binding is to cut it on the bias. That way it can curve with your edges. I just bought about five inches and cut two strips of an inch and a half. I wasn’t willing to buy a full yard and make it on the bias for just a corset that will be worn a few times. (Boy am I wrong on this part. This is my most worn corset that I have made.) Once I make one to wear for a while I will do that. I hand stitched the binding on the inside with a ladder stitch.
Here is the finished product.
The bustle pad was fairly easy. I have made a bum roll before. But never have I made a three tier bum pad. And I cannot guarantee that is historically accurate of the time. I am aware the majority of them wore bustle cages. But I decided to go with the pad. As I wanted a more natural form to late bustle era gown. I feel it is between two eras. Not full bustle, but not natural. Like I said hard to pinpoint.
To start I measured across the back:
Waist side seam to side seam: 16.5 inches
Hip to hip: 19.5 inches
Waist to below bum: 14-15 inches
Waist for ties: 33.5 inches
With those measurements I drew out the largest piece. And then gradually got smaller until they looked about this:
I cut them all out of a paisley printed white cotton, the same I used for the lining in the corset.
I didn’t take pictures of the large one in the process because I was unsure how it would work. When I was done and liked the outcome I took pictures of the process on the smaller ones.
And here it is.
Pin lace in between the layers of the bustle pad facing inwards with right sides together.
Sew them down and overlock the edges.
I proceeded to put right side out and stitch the edges in place. Mark out measurements in about two to three inches with a heat remove pen. And stitch down this line. The stuffing will go between these layers. Then iron out the ink.
Then fill with the stuffing and put a pleat in the center.
The small bustle pillow will be the one stuffed the most.
As you can see above I made a small error in my measurements. It was easily fixed by starting over and just cutting down the middle layer. Sew the sides shut until you have a two inch gap to stuff. Also photographed pinned to my dress form.
To pattern the waistband because of the pleats we added to take in the top of the waistband I used the bustle pillow. I set it on my pattern paper and drew out the top edge. And made a kind of triangle. I used a small seam allowance. Interface this waistband so it has a less chance of warping.
Then I sewed it to all the layers of my bustle pillow. I pulled out my heavy duty sewing machine for this because the layers are on the thicker side. It is a little difficult to get the stitching just right. And it was a little thick to hand sew myself. I hand basted the layers of the bustle tiers together. And with this I don’t think I could have gotten the needle through.
At this point you are almost finished. Just need to add the waist ties. If you remembered to add them between the layers of the waistband you could skip this step. I forgot to add it then. So I added it later. Good thing too because I only have cream twill tape and cream grosgrain ribbon. Not white. It would have looked horrible if it wasn’t in the same color.
Here is a look at my not so pretty stitching at the waistband. I am a little upset about it, but it was hard to get all that stuffing underneath the presser foot of my machine. And I can technically rip it out and redo it at a later date. But I won’t. I am quite proud at how it turned out. Here is the form with my Anastasia petticoat underneath.
I won’t show a picture of the front just yet as you can only see the ties in the front and the sides.
Also made in red…
More pictures to come of the silhouette in the next post about the petticoats. Which should be out next weekend.
If you have any questions please let me know. Thank you for reading.